Consumers who are spending more time online and who are also keen on saving money are turning to digital coupons in record numbers. Last year’s historic levels of digital coupon use indicate that marketers can generate sales increases by adding this format to their advertising mix.  As consumers carry their smartphones while shopping, their use of digital coupons is expected to continue.

The typical digital coupon user presents an attractive demographic profile to marketers:

  • Average household income: $105,000
  • College degree: 36%

The digital coupon format experienced a 41% growth rate in 2010 and reached a $1.2 billion use level. By comparison, growth of newspaper-based coupons  was a more modest 7% last year.  Steven Boal, CEO of Coupons.com Incorporated, the company which released the statistics, notes that, “Online savings as an industry is growing at a frenzied pace, and the digital coupons space is no exception.”

The top 5 coupon categories last  year, including those accessed through mobile channels, were:

  • Ready to eat cereal
  • Yogurt
  • Refrigerated dough
  • Portable snacks
  • Vegetables

Boal says that digital coupon use in 2011 will be driven by continued economic hard times, use of mobile apps that allow easy access to discounts, and the predicted rising cost of food. At least 16% of U.S adults, 49 million consumers, use online coupons and a significant percentage of this population, 1/3rd, no longer looks at the Sunday paper for coupons.

With statistics like these and the promising demographic characteristics of the digital coupon-using population, it’s easy to see that food marketers, in particular, will shift additional promotional efforts into this channel.

[Source: Digital Coupons Represent Fastest Growing Coupon Segment in 2010. Couponsinc.com. 8 Feb. 2011. Web. 8 Mar. 2011]